Ellerbe's departure from Baltimore was considered a fairly significant surprise because it had been assumed he would slide inside from his outside linebacker spot to replace the retired Ray Lewis.
But Ellerbe had other plans, telling me 10 days ago he didn't want to constantly hear comparisons to the incomparable Lewis.
Ellerbe's departure from Baltimore, as expected, was one of the topics when he conducted a conference call this week with writers who cover the Ravens.
Here is transcript of that conference call:
On what it is going to be like to play against his old team: “It will be like practice was. It hasn’t been that long since I was playing against those guys every day. It’s just 60 minutes playing football.”
On what it is like having a new defense that he’s emerged as a leader for: “It’s an awesome feeling to learn from guys like (Ray Lewis and Ed Reed) and take what I learned from them and try to apply it down here. It’s just great. There is a lot of pressure that comes with it. You try your best to help your team succeed, and you put the team on your shoulder. If anything goes wrong, you feel like you beat yourself for it even if it was something you couldn’t change. It’s something you had no way of changing the outcome. It’s just a different feeling right now than I use to have because I mean you are the guy now everybody looks up to make a play. Everybody looks up to give that speech or give that talk to, to get the guys up. I’m just happy I’m in a position right now to be in that role on this team. ”
On how he compares the Miami defense from the Ravens defense last year: “I don’t really try to compare those because it’s two different types of teams and two different types of players. There really is no comparison. I don’t really want to compare the two teams.”
On if he still looks back on memories of the Super Bowl, particularly the goal-line stand late in the game: “Yeah, every time I see it on TV I think about it. It just seems like it just happened yesterday, and that’s something that drives me today to get back into that position, get back to the Super Bowl and win again.”
On what he has seen from the Ravens offense this year: “I’m just now starting to watch film. I haven’t been watching any of their games this year. I’m just focused on us. I’ve been hearing a lot, but I really haven’t seen it. This year I’m looking through the film and looking at what everyone is talking about. I’ve been around that offense a long time, and any day they can get it going, what’s in the past is in the past. I know they are looking forward to getting it started, getting the running game started and playing better. We have to be prepared for their best game.”
On how likely he thought it was he would be leaving Baltimore on his return from the Super Bowl: “I knew it was a business at the end of the day, but I mean I was sure I would be back in black and purple.”
On why his thoughts about returning to play for Baltimore changed and what happened during the process: “This is a better position for me to come down here and make a name for myself, being able to be a leader, one of the top leaders on the defense, a new defense that is up-and-coming and a young defense, one that I would be valued more down here.”
On the Dolphins making a nice contract offer during free agency: “They did. That came into effect to. But other than (the contract offer), other than that those other things weighed on me heavy too because I would always be in the shadows there. I mean as a leader that was picked up before I got there. I feel like this (Miami) was the best place for me.”
On how much Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome express how much he wanted him back: “I really didn’t talk to anybody. I just let my agent handle it. I really didn’t want to be in-between. I pay my agent to do his job, and I felt like he would put me in the best place. I really didn’t want to get with the back-and-forth talking because I hear a lot of guys hear things they didn’t want to hear about themselves, and it just ends badly. I just wanted to let my agent do his job and let those guys do what they get paid to do and for me to play my position and see what the best outcome was going to be.”
On if his agent expressed the Ravens wanted him back: “Yeah, he did.”
On if he felt like he grew up as a man as a young player in Baltimore: “Yeah, you mature every year you are in the league. I will be lying if I said I didn’t. I most definitely did. ”
On if they are looking to show they are a better defense after struggling on Monday night: “Oh yeah. Any time you lose like that and you give up that many points and that many yards, you are eager to get to the field and correct what’s wrong. You know it’s a long season and you definitely not going to keep putting film out like that. We are coming back. We are back to the drawing board. Whatever it takes, we have got to get it corrected.”